Thursday, June 24, 2021

Our Curiosities Aren’t Limited To People

amanda huber
Amanda Huber,
Peanut Grower Editor

It’s the place of weird happenings, unusual occurrences and oddities. It’s the strangest story you’ve ever heard, and it usually starts with “Florida man…” What began in 2013 as an internet meme, Florida Man has only grown in popularity and recognition with each crazy story.

Part of the reason for this is the ease at which journalists navigate Florida’s freedom of information laws to gain access to odd arrests and encounters. A simpler reason is likely the variable climate, mixed with odd and unusual animals and a diverse population.

Florida Man headlines include these gems: “Florida Man Protects Car From Hurricane By Parking It In Kitchen;” “Florida Man Arrested For Trying To Get Alligator Drunk;” And “Florida Man Trapped In Unlocked Closet For Two Days.” Yes, Florida Man has quite a reputation.

Strange occurrences are not limited to people in the Sunshine State. Florida peanut is also gaining quite a reputation.

In 2017, a problem was found in Florida peanut fields that had never been seen before. In the span of a few days, fields experienced what was eventually called “peanut collapse” or “peanut decline.” Approximately 25,000 acres were affected, and yields were reduced about 1,000 pounds per acre on average. Despite a team of the best university researchers and Extension agents, no primary cause was found.

This summer I discovered one of these oddities on my own. I was in a peanut field in mid-August when I came across peanut leaves with an obvious problem. As you can see from the cover photo, the leaf was mostly yellow with green veins. I took several pictures because I figured it was a deficiency or toxicity of some sort.

I found out later that the leaf symptom had been seen in both 2019 and 2020, but no virus or major nutrient deficiencies were found among the samples where this was routinely observed. Another strange Florida peanut occurrence.

Fortunately, what you will find in this issue of The Peanut Grower are plenty of known disease, insect and weed problems, plus a rating of products used to combat those pests and an update of the Peanut Rx for 2021. Here’s hoping that any problem you encounter or work to prevent is something that is known to you or your Extension agent, even in Florida.

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